Lok Virsa displays folktales and romances of Pakistan
By Mahtab Bashir
ISLAMABAD: From times immemorial, story telling has been the best means of entertainment and education. When one hears of the stories, tales, adventures and experiences of others, he feels within himself the urge of life.
The Pakistani folktales, which are over 30 in number, represent various stages in the cultural evolution of Pakistan. These are the tales of love, romance, historical events, important battles, miracles, mystery and human passion.
In its on-going efforts to promote and preserve Pakistani indigenous culture and folklore, Lok Virsa, the National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage has created a special segment in its Heritage Museum located at Shakaparian dedicated to Folk Tales of Pakistan in the name of “Hall of Ballads and Romances”. The museum has documented one love story with its true cultural environment and landscape in three-dimensional form with visual presentation from each province of the country, said Lok Virsa Executive Director (ED) Khalid Javaid talking to Daily Times.
The folk tales projected in the Museum include Adam Khan Durkhaney from North West Frontier Province of Pakistan (NWFP), Heer Ranjha from the Punjab, Hani Shah Mureed from Balochistan and Dhola Maru from Sindh.
Narrating the history and background of these tales, Javaid said Adam Khan Durkhaney from NWFP, the land of valour, was a touching tale of true love set against the backdrop of the beautiful valley of Swat. “Adam Khan, a nobleman who plays rubab beautifully, has a chance meeting with Durkhaney, the daughter of an influential man from the neighboring village. They fall in love and Hassan Khan, his father, asks Durkhaney’s father for her hand in marriage, only to be informed that she has already been promised in marriage to another. Adam Khan is grief stricken and Durkhaney is forced to marry against her wishes. The lovers cannot live without each other. Adam dies soon after to be followed by the love of his life Durkhaney,” Javaid explained.
In Heer Ranjha folklore, Ranjha, an idealistic young man from the Punjab province, the land of romance, sets off from home to meet and win the heart of the famed beauty Heer. Heer hears him play his flute and falls in love with the music. However, Heer’s family gets her married to someone else while Ranjha becomes a hermit. The two lovers manage to run away. When at last, Heer’s father gives them permission to marry. Heer’s brother and her jealous uncle plot together to keep Heer and Ranjha apart forever. They give Heer a drink laced with poison. Two days later, when Ranjha comes with a marriage procession, he hears of her death and dies by her grave.
Hani Shah Mureed is a sad tale of loyalty and friendship set in Balochistan province, the land of honour. Mir Chakir, the leader of the tribe and Mureed were good friends. Mureed who was an expert in archery, was betrothed to the beautiful Haani. One day, the friends were out hunting and Mir had a chance meeting with Haani and was struck by her beauty and intelligence. He got Mureed into a drunken state and tricked him into giving up Haani and married her himself. Mureed was heartbroken. He left the tribe, gave up all life’s pleasures and become hermit and spent rest of his life in poverty.
About a love affair of Dhola Maru from Sindh, the land of Sufism, Khalid Javaid said that the story of Dhola and Maru from the Thar Desert was based on a young woman dreamt she was bespoken in marriage to a man named Dhola. She sent a message by parrot mail to Dhola, who mounted his magic flying camel to meet her. His witch wife caught the camel’s tail to stop him, but Dhola chopped it off with his sword, which is why camels now have short tails. He then went onto pick Maru up and they flew together for his home,” Javaid narrated.